The practice of ‘managing as designing’
Recent studies of ‘design thinking’ for management have criticized the current focus on principles and tools of design thinking, for creating an over-simplified view of a complex process. As a response, this paper sets out to study the empirical details of ‘doing designing’ in order to explore what ‘managing as designing’ involves in practice. Adopting a practice-based theoretical orientation, the paper presents findings from the design meetings of three residential refurbishment projects in the UK. The findings suggest that the management of design practices was accomplished through everyday interactions during which the nature and level of uncertainty of various issues were established, and the corresponding adaptive and innovative courses of actions were developed. Based on these insights, it is concluded that ‘managing as designing’ is primarily about facilitation of everyday organizational interactions, and leadership for the reconciliation of various concerns of multiple stakeholders.
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